A survey is an instrument used to collect information from people about their characteristics, behaviors, attitudes, or perceptions. Surveys typically use numeric or descriptive rating scales.
- Numeric: Quantifies interpretations using an increasing or decreasing numbers.
- Example: “1 = Strong Disagree” and “5=Strongly Agree”
- Descriptive: Explains interpretations using definitions or phrases to quantify level of agreement, satisfaction, etc.
- Example: “Highly Competent = Successful completion of all assigned tasks.”
Survey research pertains to sampling a population of people to answer a series of questions. A questionnaire is designed so that it gathers the information about the research question/s. A pilot run is introduced to employ consistent (reliable) and accurate (valid) testing. The validity and reliability of an instrument proves whether it measures what it is intended to measure. Once the responses are obtained, analysis of the data provide insight into the sampled populous and seek to identify relationships or trends among responses. Generalization of the results to the population who was surveyed can then be obtained. Modifications made to the instrument are based on the results and feedback generated by the pilot. After revision, the survey can then be launched to its intended global audience.
A step-by-step guide to constructing survey tools can be found at 696 RESEARCH METHODS INSTRUMENTATION: QUESTIONNAIRES